I was at a local “Kid’s Expo” recently and listened intently as a police detective provided tips on how to keep children safe. The one piece of advice that stuck with me was to always make a mental note of what your child is wearing no matter where you are. Whether you are in the mall, at the park, or at a movie theater, there is no such thing as a completely “safe place.” And in case your child were to get lost or God-forbid kidnapped, knowing what your child was wearing the last time you saw him or her is vital information for police to have. It got me thinking about how this information can also be applied to traveling with children and what other tips you should keep in mind when taking a trip with a youngster.
1. In addition to making a mental note of what your child is wearing, you should also carry a recent photo of him or her with you on the trip. This is especially important if you are traveling far from home. For example, if you live in Texas and are vacationing in New York it will be hard to “just run back home” to retrieve a picture for authorities.
2. Pack all essential items for your child, like medication, water, snacks and first-aid supplies, in carry-on luggage.
3. If you are not the child’s sole legal guardian, have the other parent sign a notarized letter consenting to emergency medical treatment.
4. If you plan to leave the country, make sure that your child’s passport is up to date. Also, keep in mind that as of December 31, 2005, it is mandatory that all travelers have a passport to travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.
5. If you plan to rent a car, consider bringing your own car seat – chances are it is in better shape, of better quality and more comfortable than the ones available from the rental car companies.